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SNK Jumping onboard the Xbox train


Romier S
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Reported over at Gamespot:

 

http://www.gamespot.com/xbox/action/snkvsc...ws_6087000.html

 

Excerpt:

 

SNK NeoGeo USA today announced that it has joined Microsoft's Xbox third-party program and plans to release Xbox versions of both Metal Slug 3 and SVC Chaos: SNK vs. Capcom in North America this year.

 

mmmmmm Metal Slug.....mmmmmm

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Ok...I have never played Metal Slug. It's one of a few major franchises I have just never been exposed to (another, believe it or not is Bomberman). Anyone care to give me a brief synopsis of Metal Slug? For some reason I've always thought it was a strategic game...don't know why I think that though as I've never even seen the game.

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Camp go here for some screenies of Metal Slug 3 on the PS2 (due out in a few months):

 

http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/action/metalsl...creenindex.html

 

As Chris pointed out the game has some of the absolute best hand drawn 2D sprite animation you will ever see in a game. Its very much in the vein of Contra but with a great sense of humor and (I know its hard to believe) bigger and crazier action.

 

In words of Beer Monkey..it will rock you down to your nether regions.;)

 

Also Camp if possible try to track down Bomberman Online for the Dreamcast! If you have four friends that you can play with its an absolute BLAST.

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Thanks guys.

 

Also Camp if possible try to track down Bomberman Online for the Dreamcast! If you have four friends that you can play with its an absolute BLAST.

 

Not meaning to threadjack....but I almost bought this the other day. Do you know if it's still possible to play Dreamcast games online? Are Sega's servers still up? Is peer-to-peer possible?

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Beer,

 

The first time I was playing Metal Slug on the Saturn and heard the death call when you die, I just about fell over...

 

Did he just say "F($#!!!!!" when he died?

 

hehe

 

I was planning on picking up Metal Slug 3 for the PS2, but I guess it will depend on if the Xbox version has anything different in store, unlockable versions of the other Metal Slug games, etc.

 

Glen

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Do you know if it's still possible to play Dreamcast games online? Are Sega's servers still up? Is peer-to-peer possible?

 

Unfortunately no :( . Brian (dogbert) was the one that introduced me to Bomberman Online at our get together in October and we all had a blast playing the multiplayer game. Very competitive and just fun as hell. First question right after we played was: "Can you still play online?" The minute I got home I tried and was unable too. Still worth the price as a great party game.

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Brian (dogbert) was the one that introduced me to Bomberman Online at our get together in October and we all had a blast playing the multiplayer game. Very competitive and just fun as hell. First question right after we played was: "Can you still play online?" The minute I got home I tried and was unable too. Still worth the price as a great party game.

 

I've been fortunate to play 8 and 10 (!) player Saturn Bomberman (and tons of 5-player Bomberman '94 on the Duo) a few times. In fact, I think there's a Saturn Bomberman tournament at a nearby mall this Saturday, though I won't likely make it.

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The metal slug series is awesome I can't wait until it gets released, I couldn't even tell you how many credits I've pumped into these games at the arcades!!!

 

Actually if anyone knows where I can get myhands on an arcade version in the Toronto area that would be greatly appreciated.

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Serious,

 

You can give Contra Shattered Soldier (PS2) a try. Its a far more serious game (ie doesn't have the sense of humor that the Metal Slug series has) but its an old school side scroller with a hellish level of difficulty (which means its good ;) ).

 

Not exactly in the same vein as Metal Slug but its an old fashioned 2D side scroller that is all action, all style and all gameplay. Some of the most fun you'll have playing a videogame. In fact just let me go ahead and say it.......you MUST get Viewtiful Joe (GC)!!

 

I did a review for Contra Shattered Soldier on the HTF way back when it was released. I'll repost it here if your interested in reading it:

 

Game title: Contra: Shattered Soldier

Developer: Konami

Publisher: Konami

16:9: No

480p: No

5.1 audio: No

 

Introduction

 

My god its been too long!

 

How else can you really describe the elation you feel when playing the resurrection of one of the greatest shooter series in gaming history. Many a gamer has with bated breath awaited the day when Konami did right by the Contra name and that day is here ladies and gentleman.

 

Unfortunately things were not as exciting for the Contra series in the days of the original Playstation. Two very uninspired sequels were created that fell far short of capturing the refined run and gun gameplay of games like Contra 3: The Alien Wars or Contra: Hard Corps. Konami single handedly moved the series into what most consider to be its dark age.

 

Thankfully Konami did not give up on all things Contra and chose to bring the latest and greatest to Sony's Playstation 2. Preserving the 2D platform aspects of the original games in a pseudo 3D environment. Lets delve into exactly how well this new Contra truly is.

 

Story

 

You mean there is a story here?. Humor aside, Contra: Shattered Soldier is actually the most story driven game in the series.

 

It all begins with a pulse pounding CG intro which introduces you to the main character Bill Rizer. Bill is one of the original soldiers from the very first Contra game. Accused and condemned of killing his partner Lance along with mass genocide on a global scale, Bill was cryogenically frozen to prevent any other "mishaps" from happening.

 

Now there is a new threat to the world, a separatist army has declared war on the Earth's council and even worse they have allied with the alien forces that humanity has been struggling against for years.

 

The council must do the unthinkable, release the most feared mass murderer in our history to deal with the alien threat. Along with a new female android sent to monitor his actions, it is up to Bill and his companion to defend the planet earth yet again.

 

Gameplay

 

I want to make something very clear right off the bat. I am a very big fan of 2D side scrollers in general and the Contra series brings back allot of memories for me. Let me not beat around the bush, this is my kind of game. It appeals to my sensibilities as a gamer, though it wont have the same effect on many people. In fact I would put money on the fact that many a gamer will walk away horribly frustrated after the first level alone.

 

Contra: Shattered Soldier is designed from the ground up with an "old school" mentality. The level design, the challenge, the pattern recognition and the numerous boss battles, it all gels together to create one of the hardest games to come out in the past couple of years. You will die allot but you will feel rewarded when you beat that hard boss, or complete that impossible sequence. This is vintage Contra gameplay folks and I would have it no other way.

 

Right off the bat you will have access to three distinct difficulty levels that will affect the number of lives you are given at the games outset moreso than its difficulty (which really doesn't change). The easy difficulty simply supplies you with 8 lives along with a nearly unlimited amount of continues for you to complete the game with. Normal on the other hand allows you only 5 lives and 3 continues. While the hardest setting well, let me just say that you have a better chance at becoming president of the United States than you will at beating this game on the hard difficulty setting.

 

Shattered Soldier has a total of five levels for you to explore. Between these levels you will experience some short but interesting sequences that will progress the story along. Its good to see some effort placed in making this a more cinematic experience but lets be honest, if your playing Contra your playing it to blow things up. Keeping that in mind the controls are not in any way complicated which would have been a detriment to the gameplay. Here is the control layout for you to glance over:

 

X: Jump

Square: Shoot

O: Alternate Fire

R1: Switch weapon

L1: Switch weapon

R2: Hold character in postion

L2: Hold weapon direction in position

 

You'll notice the weapon change selections along with the alternate fire button. The biggest change to the Contra formula is the inclusion of a limited weapon system. The days of collecting various weapon upgrades are over. This was a bit a dissapointment at first since that was an important part of Contra's charm but once you understand how the new weapons work you won't bother worrying about the missing power-ups.

 

Upon entering the game you will be introduced to the first weapon in your arsenal, which is the standard variety Contra "Machine gun". It fires exactly like the standard weapon in the original games (Contra and SuperC). By hitting the weapon change button you will be able to switch to your next piece of hardware, the powerful flame thrower which is great for up close and personal combat. Finally you will be able to pull out your most unique weapon, a homing grenade launcher. Its ammo fires in a arch type path and scrambles on the floor like a moving mine. Great for dispensing foes that are open to attacks from below.

 

Along with these standard weapons you will also have access to an alternate firing mode for each. You can use this alternate fire mode by holding down the O button or by double tapping and holding the regular fire button (Square). The standard weapon shoots a small projectile that will open and lets loose a 360 degree barrage of bullets. The flame thrower will "charge up" and fire a large fireball attack. While the homing grenade launcher will fire 5-6 homing laser shots that will seek out your enemies and blow them to kingdom come.

 

The limited weapon system heavily influences how Contra is played. You need to know which weapon to use at which particular time or you will die (hell your gonna die anyway but I figured I'd mention it). It adds a tactical element that was not in the original games while allowing the player to experiment with how to handle a given situation.

 

The game is played from a 2D perspective while your character and the environments that surround him/her are 3D (very much like Klonoa 2). There are certain sections of the game where the view will change to accommodate a boss battle or a particular sequence (such as a snowboarding action sequence from the first level that is played from a forward perspective). These view changes are not too plentiful but when used give the game a good sense of variety.

 

Speaking of boss battles, there are allot of them. You will be embroiled in sub-boss boss battles and full on boss battles throughout a large portion of this game. The bosses are absolutely grotesque and at the same time extremely difficult. All of them adhere to the tried and true formula of recognizing thier patterns and dispensing with them soon after. In fact pattern recognition is what this whole game is about. Your memory is almost as important as your reflexes.

 

You will need those reflexes too for the many platforming sections of the game. Even more to the chagrin of challenge hating gamers, allot of these platforming sequences are mixed in with the boss battles you'll have to contend with. You will need to worry about firing at the boss, jumping high onto a platform to avoid thier attacks and changing weapons when needed. Its can be an absolutely harrowing experience and I love it. Of course its always fun to bring a second player along. Nothing like having a friend to help you conquer this beast and for those wondering Contra is of course a 2-player game.

 

Adding even more to the strategy element of the game is the position buttons. There will be times when an enemy is coming in behind you and you will need to fire backwards continuously. In this case you will want to use the "character hold" position button which will lock your chacter in place and allow you only move the weapon in your hand. The second position button will allow you to lock the gun in whichever direction you are aiming. Say for instance you are shooting upwards at an enemy and want to have the gun locked in that upwards position. Simply hold the "gun hold" button. This is yet another skill you will need to master using as they can mean the difference between life or death.

 

If I haven't already driven home the point here let me reiterate. Contra is hard. It will not appeal to anyone that does not want to be challenged. When I say challenge I mean CHALLENGE. Beating the game on easy is not an accomplishment since you are given unlimited continues to contend with. Attempting to beat the game on Normal is where the the real meat of this game comes. It will drive you to the brink of insanity until you really start to recognize enemy patterns and memorize the levels.(and I'm proud to say that I have beaten the game on hard, and yes Im tooting my own horn). Please keep this in mind if you are thinking about purchasing the game.

 

Pretty much everything here just works. This is Contra the way it was meant to be. Konami didn't fool with the formula much and the result is one of the most frustrating yet fun games to play.

 

I do want to mention a small gripe that may sway some gamers away from a purchase and more towards a rental. This is not a long game. The five levels in question are not large and if your playing the game on easy it will not take you an inordinate amount of time to beat Shattered Soldier. I cannot stress enough though that this game is meant to be played on a more challenging difficulty and doing otherwise will result in a less lengthy and less satisfying experience in my humble opinion.

 

On the note of length, I also want to mention that after each level you are given a rating as to how well you did. This rating includes hit percentages, lives lost so forth and so on. Getting higher scores will not doubt be a something many gamers will strive for and I think its worth mentioning that you will want to play through these levels again. Not so much for the higher ratings but just cause the game is so much fun to play. The replay value is there, but only for those that can really get into this genre.

 

Graphics

 

Konami really comes through with a one-two punch here. Along with a fantastic gameplay experience you get some excitingly unique visuals.

 

The games dark apocalyptic world is rendered beautifully with explosions coming left and right and some of the most grotesquely animated bosses in the history of videogaming. (The first level boss alone, a throwback to the "turtle" boss from Alien Wars, will make you want to vomit..BLECH!)

 

The framerate is constant and never falters. The textures used in the game can vary from fairly bland to very detailed. Some of the droid and mechnical enemies in the game for instance can display some really ultra-detailed engineering, down to the nuts and bolts. While at the same time some of the backgrounds can be a little blah and in need of more interesting "fluff" so to speak.

 

Sticking to the "old school" game design regiment I mentioned earlier Konami chose to animate its enemies and the main characters much in the way of the older games. Animation can appear to be a bit stilted at times but somehow this works in the nostalgiac sense. For example your main character still does the "flip" jump from way back in the day. Its still neat to see but some may be turned off by it. However your characters run animation is silky smooth and some of the bigger enemies will surely impress with some complicated movements that look very realistic. This is a great looking PS2 title. No doubt about it.

 

Sound

 

Contra features no voice acting at all. The story sequences are told with text which kind of cheapens the storyline aspect of the game for me. The music in the game consists of heavy metal guitar riffs that really compliment the action well. Your heart will be pumping while blasting away the alien threat.

 

The game has no multi-channel support but the pro-logic soundtrack services the game well. The explosions and sound effects are suffuciently clear and defined but the game cries out for a more succint use of bass that would have really added to the atmosphere.

 

Home Theater Performance

 

Contra does not include 16:9 or 480p support unfortunately. This is ashame as the game would have benefited from the higher resolution. When displayed on my Toshiba 42H81 Contra looks quite smooth but a tad dark. I had to move my brightness up a few notches from my regularly calibrated game settings to get a better view of the action.

 

Jaggies are not a problem on my set. It seems the more PS2 games that are released the less this problem arises (thankfully). The game does not look bad on the various stretch modes on my set but my preference lies with a straight up 4X3 display for this one.

 

Closing

 

Contra: Shattered Soldier is pure gaming bliss for fans of the 2D action side scroller. I would recommed it whole heartidly for any fan of the original Contra games or any fan of challenging 2D gameplay. This one is truly heavenly.

 

The difficult level along with the relative shortness of the game will no doubt put off the more casual fans out there but even still I would reccommend everyone to at the very least give the game a rental. Its too good of a game to just abandon without at the very least playing it once.

 

Contra is back ladies and gentleman and I can't wait to see what Konami does next with the series. Its been far too long indeed.

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Thanks for the review, looks like I have a new/old ps2 game to pick up as soon as this winter storm passes, Contra is one of my favourite series but I gave up on it during the playstation days. Its good to hear that Konami didn't give up on the franchise, now how hard do you think it will be to track down??

 

Sounds like it will keep me busy until metal slug comes out!! :green:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Reposted from BrianB's comments at the HTF, which was quoted from a prominent SNK fan sites forums:

 

Before I post the email I received from Ben Herman this morning, let me say that I have hit my last straw with the PS2. I will still play the games I have (Strikers 1945 being one of them), but I will not buy another PS2 game. Finito!

 

From Ben Herman (http://www.snkneogeousaconsumer.com): (I had asked if Metal Slug 3 and SS5 were still coming to the PS2?)

 

"No on MS3 for PS2. Sony has not approved. SS5 is doubtful as well.

Sony is reviewing our SS5 game."

 

Looks like the PS2 is all up in the air if already not going to happen at all. Looks like the Xbox release may be the only one to see the light of day. :(

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Originally posted by FutureVoid@Feb 6 2004, 11:52 PM

Reposted from BrianB's comments at the HTF, which was quoted from a prominent SNK fan sites forums:

 

Before I post the email I received from Ben Herman this morning, let me say that I have hit my last straw with the PS2. I will still play the games I have (Strikers 1945 being one of them), but I will not buy another PS2 game. Finito!

 

From Ben Herman (http://www.snkneogeousaconsumer.com): (I had asked if Metal Slug 3 and SS5 were still coming to the PS2?)

 

"No on MS3 for PS2. Sony has not approved. SS5 is doubtful as well.

Sony is reviewing our SS5 game."

 

Looks like the PS2 is all up in the air if already not going to happen at all. Looks like the Xbox release may be the only one to see the light of day. :(

thats fine, because the Xbox is the only machine of the big 3 with enough RAM to pull them off 100% NeoGeo perfect, although I do imagine the GameCube could do a nice job with them. Bring on the fucking Metal Slug with some Live Co-op!

 

To this day I still wonder who Sammy sold their soul to so Guilty Gear XX could look so good on the PS2.

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Hmmm, yes apparently I need to check the XBox section more often :oops:. I too was hoping to get MS3 soon on the PS2, but alas it seems destined not to happen...however if they can get it onto the XBox relatively soon, I'm fine with that too. :D I'll probably give the SVC Chaos port SNK announced a shot as well. Hopefully if these two sell (relatively) well, SNK will think about bringing more of their excellent games over. Mmmm a steady stream of SNK goodness on a mainstream console *pinches self*. :green:

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